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THE DANCING GIRLS AND THE HIRA MANDI

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Contrary to the meaning the term ‘dancing girl’ has come to acquire, its historical meaning is far from its current connotation. There are a three important terms that refer to such artisans or courtesans. These terms are: ‘tawaif’, ‘nautch’ and ‘kanjri’. Far from the connotation it has assumed, the word ‘tawaif’ is a word rich with emotional connotations. The term…

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JUST WHO WAS BILLO

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Ever heard the term Billo or Billo Rani? The name has become more of an expression. It has a certain charm to it and is deep rooted in Punjabi history. It has made its way in our daily usage and our popular culture as a term of endearment or a playful taunt. Abrar-ul-Haq’s songs being a case in point. But…

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THE CURSE OF KOH-I-NOOR DIAMOND

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The Koh-i-Noor’s history is shrouded in legends and enigma. According to legends, the diamond is 5000 years old and is mentioned in Hindu holy scriptures by the name of Sayamantaka. Interestingly, the scriptures also talk of a curse associated with the diamond. ‘The one who owns it will own the world, but will also know it’s misfortunes; only God or…

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Lahore’s architecture in New York

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Lockwood Forest, an artist from New York came to Lahore and met Lockwood Kipling (father of Rudyard Kipling) and together they surveyed the houses of Lahore and held an exhibition in the Lahore Museum in 1885. The love for local craftsmanship was so much, that Lockwood Forest took many local craftsmen to New York in 1885 and built a house…

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Lahore in Hollywood- The Rains of Ranchipur

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We all know about Bhovani Junction, the Hollywoood film shot in Lahore in the 1950’s. But did you know that before Bhovani Junction another Hollywood film ‘The Rains of Ranchipur’ (1955) was also shot in Lahore. The film starred Richard Burton and Lana Turner and the story revolves around an American/ British woman (Lana Turner) who visits an Indian royal…

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